Chaos on CatNet (CatNet #2) by Naomi Kritzer (author), Casey Turner (narrator), Corey Gagne (narrator) (Audible, 2021)
By Lis Carey: Steph and her mother are no longer on the run. Steph’s father is locked up in Boston, awaiting trial with no bail. They’re living in Minneapolis, and Steph is finally enrolled in a high school she can expect to graduate from. She’s enrolled under her real name, with all the school information that she has, and telling the truth about why it’s so spotty.
She also has a new friend, a classmate named Nell, who has her own interesting history. She’s been homeschooled until now, because her mother joined a cult. Well, a series of cults, but the latest one is especially extreme, and is run by someone called the Elder, whom no one ever sees.
Nell’s grandparents, devout Christians but not cult members, have allowed Nell and her mother to live with them — until Nell’s mother disappears, and abandons her car not far away. When the police conclude she disappeared under her own power, Nell’s grandmother concludes that maybe Nell is better off with her father, even though her father isn’t exactly grandmother’s idea of a great Christian.
To be clear about that last, her father has a wife, and both he and his wife have girlfriends, and they all live together in a large house in Minneapolis. At first we have only Nell’s impression of them, and Nell doesn’t know what to make of them, beyond being rather judgmental about their lax attitude towards household chores.
Nell and Steph get invited into a new social media site called Mischief Elves, and Nell invites Steph to join a social network popular with cult members — the Catacombs. It’s not long before Steph starts to notice some creepy and disturbing aspects of both sites, and even more disturbing resemblances between them.
The pranks the Mischief Elves organize get more and more dangerous. The Catacombs is also organizing strange activities that don’t seem to fit.
Then they discover the Mischief Elves are organizing supplies of explosives and potential weapons for the Catacombs people to collect.
Meanwhile, CheshireCat has been receiving messages from what he thinks is another AI like himself, which he hasn’t responded to because he doesn’t trust its approach.
What’s going on? And will Minneapolis survive?
It’s twisty and interesting and a lot of fun.
I bought this audiobook.